NDC stumbles over Mahama’s running mate: Naana Opoku-Agyemang or Kwesi Botchwey? Featured

By by Chris Lartey November 27, 2019 1931 5 comments
Professor Kwesi Botchwey Professor Kwesi Botchwey

The opposition National Democratic Congress seems increasingly caught between a rock and a hard place as it prepares to make a desperate stand to fight for power in the 2020 general election.

Information seen by the Daily Statesman shows it is no longer a secret that John Dramani Mahama, the party’s flagbearer, has now sidelined the largely favoured Professor Kwesi Botchwey and chosen Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang to be his running mate.

Highly placed sources tell us that the NDC has been advised to pick an Akan as his running mate or forget all chances of winning the election. But many people in the party are not sure what the former Minister of Education brings on board, other than being a woman.

She is said to have planted a question for then President Mahama during the televised presidential debate in 2012, and was allegedly rewarded for this with a ministerial appointment.


Insiders say as the NDC prepares to announce the nominee, the voice of the party will be drowned out in a calculated strategy by the flagbearer, who is said to have his sights set on 2024 rather than 2020.

The founder of the NDC, former President Jerry John Rawlings, has dropped a hint of the problem in a moment of anger, questioning the flagbearer’s sincerity and accusing him of holding the party “by the balls”.

Mr Mahama and his loyal strategists calculate that by 2024, major flagbearer contenders such as the greying and wrinkling Professors Botchwey and Joshua Alabi will be unfit by the NDC’s own “Mugabe” propaganda standards.

Already the party’s politburo chief Ato Ahwoi has dropped in clout within the party, together with his brother and choice of running mate, Kwesi Ahwoi. The decline came despite Mr Ahwoi’s much-publicised pledge to raise a war chest to execute the 2020 campaign for the NDC and Mr Mahama.

Fortunately for Mr Mahama, Mr Rawlings opposes the choice of Kwesi Ahwoi (and, probably, any other Ahwoi) for running mate.

Cadre mate

An interesting twist to the NDC’s dilemma is that, regardless of who becomes flagbearer, the cadre caucus must have a voice to ensure balance.

Professor Botchwey represents the cadres; this is in Mr Mahama’s interest, because his hopes are really pinned on his post-2020 fortunes. He hopes that by then Ghanaians will have become too familiar with the New Patriotic Party and might want a change.

Insiders believe that even if Professor Botchwey is forced on Mr Mahama, as the former President is much younger, Professor Botchwey will be more likely not to contest Mr Mahama for the ultimate prize in 2024, as he moves into his eighties.

Gender agenda

Equally adored in the NDC, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, born in November 1951 in Cape Coast, fits the gender brief and answers the women’s empowerment campaign.

Image result for Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang"

However, top NDC cadres prefer Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, who has excellent credentials as the former Minister of Trade and Industry and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

They say she is better cut out for the terrain, over and above her greater competence and experience in politics.

Profile of a don

Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman was appointed Minister of Education by Mr Mahama in 2013, after the controversial 2012 Election Petition, and served until January 2017, when the Akufo-Addo government came into power.

She is a former vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, the first woman to be appointed to such a position with a public university in Ghana.

She attended the Anglican Girls’ School at Koforidua and Aburi Presby Girls’ School. She received her secondary education at Wesley Girls’ High School in Cape Coast between 1964 and 1971.

Professor Opoku-Agyemang completed a BEd (Hons) degree in English and French at the University of Cape Coast in 1977 and obtained her Master’s degree (1980) and doctorate (1986) from York University in Toronto, Canada.

She taught at the University of Cape Coast from 1986 and held various positions, including head of the Department of English, dean of the Faculty of Arts, warden of Adehye Hall and the VALCO Trust Fund Postgraduate Hostel, and dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

In March 2007, Professor Opoku-Agyemang was one of five scholars selected to deliver presentations during a ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York City to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

In October 2009 she was elected Ghana’s representative to the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

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Last modified on Wednesday, 27 November 2019 07:32


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